Following up my article on how to create a more than minor side-project, another thing developers would probably like to learn is how to communicate and collaborate efficiently, so, I decided to share my thoughts with you on this as well. This is first of two articles and feel free to let any comments down below on your thoughts on this one!
Communication is a central skill for every developer (whether we like it or not) and we use it everywhere, with friends, family, clients, team, bosses, etc.
And as much obvious as it is to say, the objective of communication is transmitting an idea. This is important to be said since sometimes communication goes into automatic mode and we just say everything that comes to our head, without spending a little time to think.
So, I decided to write this article in order to talk a little bit about what I consider important in communicating and I decided to do it in a list-like manner:
Starting off, there are a few important things to always have in mind when communicating with someone. Every one of them have importance, but, if you just want a quick rule of thumb, always put yourself (and the things you're about to say) on the perspective of the other person. Let's start our little list with adaptation:
The idea of changing the dialogue in order to match the context that the other person has. Expert developers are amazing at this, since, they can translate developers demands and ideas for the people on the business side. But that's not the unique use case! Use it with clients, talking it in a commonly manner to get their engagement, or use more technical jargons while talking with high skilled developers. The context guides everything.
If you just want to talk with someone, spend some time learning what are the likes and dislikes of that person! Ask open-ended questions (the ones that can't be answered with just a YES or NO) and you'll find yourself with new friends in no time. The importance here is that friends are (as LinkedIn proposes) connections and connections can bring you opportunities.
This is an amazing concept on how to communicate with other human beings. There's a whole book (written by Marshall Bertram Rosenberg creator of the concept) talking about how we can communicate better and more than that, empathetically.
This is somewhat hard to explain in just a tip article, so, I recommend you to check this video here. It's an amazing video and with just 4 minutes, it can open your eyes A LOT to the way we communicate (remember when I said that we usually just communicate on the automatic? yeah, that can cause trouble).
Ok, the tips above are good, but they can be sometimes hard to apply on some cases online. And, as we are developers, we'll probably communicate a lot more online that don't, so, the following tips are special cases perfect for the online environment.
These two are powerful. Every now and then we see it happening, someone asking:
Are there any JS experts here?
These types of questions are way too vague and can even question people's own abilities. The simple answer here is just ask.
Hey! How do I do a fetch request is JS with axios?
Now that's a much better question! Explaining more, we even reveal a shocking truth: You did not need an expert, it was just your senses talking louder than you reasoning!
There's an amazing webpage that shows the intent of the message on the idea more in depth (it's the whole source of this tip), check it out after reading here!
Besides that one, we have: don't start with just a hello
SPECIALLY IN ONLINE ENVIRONMENTS, this one is really important. People have other things to do. If you startup a conversation with:
Hey - Sent at 11:00
Hey! How are you? - Sent at 12:00
Everything's fine! Can you help me with... - Sent at 13:30
You just spent a whole 2 and a half hours just to communicate your real intent. If this conversation were like this instead, you would save a free 1 and a half hour:
Hey! Everything's good? Can you help me with.... - Sent at 11:00
Hey! Everything's good! In this problem I would... - Sent at 12:00
There's another webpage which is the source of this, please, check it out after reading this article :D
The last tip here is (following up the guideline on non-violent communication) to show your feeling and emotions on conversations!
And, sometimes, reading what emotion is being transmitted in a few strings is kind of hard.
On those cases, I present to you the old concept: One image speaks louder than 1000 words!
What does that mean? Simple, use emojis! If you think the intentions on your messages can be unclear sometimes (especially if you're into irony a lot), insert an emoji here and there! Check how these two messages have the same content, but the emoji makes the meaning of them slightly different:
"Well, that's certainly an interesting perspective."
"Well, that's certainly an interesting perspective. 🤔"
The above one, can sound kind of harsh if you're reading it in a bad day, while, the other one, can sound just questioning (as the intent of the message was designed!). Always remember, we're all humans, we all have bad days, so, don't leave a lot of margin for the imagination of others to fill the content of your message.
Thanks a lot for reading! If you enjoyed or want to add something to the post, feel free to let you comment below!